The most successful new restaurants are the ones that know that you need good advertising. Of course, you must make sure that your food is great, your décor is appealing and you have efficient waiting staff, but none of the means anything unless people know about it.
Advertising is an important part of both launching and sustaining your new restaurant and it need not cost a great deal. Advertising is rather like holidays and shoes – you can spend as much as you want to, with seemingly endless opportunities to get through your money.
If you are a bit savvy and prepared to put in some hard work (and let’s face it, unless you are you probably shouldn’t be launching your own restaurant anyway) then you can get some really great results from a relatively small advertising budget.
What’s Your Budget?
So, first of all you need to know what you can afford to spend. Your advertising budget can get pushed to the bottom of the pile as the costs for seating, crockery and kitchen equipment steak their claims well beforehand. But do not let your advertising budget be the thing to give way – effective advertising will have a far greater impact on your bottom line than slightly more expensive taps ever will.
Go through your budgets and see what is available for advertising. If necessary, shave of bits here and there – you really do not need to buy expensive paint or glasses – to make sure your advertising budget is as healthy as possible. Many business experts say that for every pound you spend on advertising you earn three pounds back in takings, so it really is worth putting in the extra effort now.
Good with Words?
You don’t have to fork out for Saatchi and Saatchi to do your advertising and nor do you have to make do with whatever cheesy slogan you can come up with. There are plenty of alternative options in between that will both fit into your budget and get the results you want.
If you are a great wordsmith, then by all means write your own advertising copy, but do remember that good copywriters have many years experience in coming up with just the phrases to highlight your business. That said, if you go to your local advertising guru and they look stuck in the eighties then do not feel like you have to waste your money on a so-called expert.
You do not have to have a flashy slogan, but a good strapline does help. Think about what you want your restaurant reputation to be, what your signature dish will be and the type of night you think people will have when they come to your restaurant. This is a good starting place for writing your advertising literature and, even if you decide to pay some one else to write the actual copy, you will have a clear idea of how to brief them and reduce the likelihood of expensive mistakes.
Getting Your Advertising Out There
After you have written your copy, got a clear strapline and perhaps had some decent flyers printed up, you need to get your money’s worth. Call up your local newspaper and offer their reviewer a free meal, or suggest them come for after work drinks on the house. This is great for free advertising. Hire local drama students to hand out your flyers in the city or town centre and pay them with a free lunch.
Think about having piles of your flyers on the counters in suitable local shops – record shops if you are an American diner or the local boutique for a French bistro.